Re: Institutionalized relative - death date and burial location #general

Kenneth Ryesky

I do not know any of the particulars regarding your interactions with Pilgrim Psychiatric Center (formerly Pilgrim State Hospital), but note the following
New York's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) is structurally and operationally similar to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), except that FOIL gives New York state agencies broader reasons to deny access than does FOIL for federal agencies.
Your written request for the information should specifically state that the information is requested in accordance with FOIL.  If your request is denied, then the bureaucrat who denied your request is required under FOIL to inform you of (A) the reasons for the denial, and (B) the identity of the bureaucrat to whom the denial can be appealed.
If the denial is upheld on this appeal, you then have the right to further appeal the denial to the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court (if this appeal is successful you may be entitled to attorney fees and costs).
[N.B.  Don't let the name of the tribunal intimidate you.  In New York, the "Supreme Court" is the LOWEST court of general jurisdiction; the intermediate appellate tribunal is the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, and the highest state court in New York is the Court of Appeals of the State of New York.]
{Usual caveats that this does not constitute legal advice in the context of the lawyer-client relationship.}
-- KHR
Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq.
Petach Tikva, ISRAEL

Ken Ryesky,  Petach Tikva, Israel     kenneth.ryesky@...

Re: Institutionalized relative - death date and burial location #general

Marilyn Feingold

HIPPA has changed everything. Many years ago I researched a family member in a facility and got a copy of their diagnosis and lots of other information.  I am certain they wouldn't give me that information today.  Too bad. Marilyn Feingold

Re: Gomborow/Gomborov #ukraine #general

David Cherson

This may not help you at all but at the Kehillath Israel (Brookline MA) Hebrew School, several years ago, we had a third grade teacher named Avraham Gomborow and he was also a survivor.  In fact half of the teachers plus the principal were survivors.  I'm talking the 1950's fyi.  


Re: Adoptions in the US around the 1930s #general #dna


I have some thoughts for you if you would like to connect privately. I am not sure how to contact you however. 

Re: Yiddish or Hebrew name for IDA #belarus #names


Itka is a diminutive for Ita 

Re: "adoption" to avoid the czar's army #general #lithuania

Angie Elfassi

this subject is close to my heart!
A story I have told before and am happy to share again ....
My ggrandfather Mordechai KASSEMOFF was born in Rezekne in Latvia. On his papers that I had received from the Latvian archives, it said that his father was Moshe Hirsch. However, on his tombstone, in Leeds, it said his father was Zeev.

During my years of research I came across two family ancestors - GREENSTONE/GREENSPAN and MULVIDSON, and I couldnt understand how they were connected to the KASSEMOFFS. Eventually I was in contact with a descendant of one of the MULVIDSON family, who lives in Norway, and he sent me a copy of a photo taken in 1926. He told me that on the reverse side of the photo was written: my brother Mordechai and family in Leeds. Imagine my shock when I received the photo (attached). I had the identical photo in the cupboard of my ggrandfather and ggrandmother and their grown children (including my grandparents).  He told me that the original family name was MULVIDSON. Ggrandfather Mordechai's birth father was Zeev. The clue of his birth father was on his tombstone Emoji. The GREENSTONE/GREENSPAN  (I have found different surname information and spellings, for the same branch) is the 2nd brother. There may have been more but because of the different family surnames, it's not easy to find them.
I was told that they had been given different surnames almost at birth, to avoid conscription. The oldest son kept the family surname as he was exempt from army service.
Hope this has helped.
Angie Elfassi

"adoption" to avoid the czar's army #general #lithuania
From: Ettie Zilber
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2020 22:12:23 EDT

DOES THIS STORY SOUND FAMILIAR? a branch of my family had 5 sons around the mid-late 1800s. In order to avoid the military, 4 of the sons were "adopted" by families which had no sons. Thus, this branch had 5 different family names. They lived in Kalvarija and environs. Does anyone have information about this practice? How do the genealogy experts advise doing research for this brick wall?


Re: looking for family in Australia from Poland name Cohen/K #general #poland

Esther Goldberg

All telephone books are on the web

Re: "adoption" to avoid the czar's army #general #lithuania

Rose Feldman

I have the same for my grandfather in the Ukraine.


Rose Feldman
Israel Genealogy Research Association
Winner of 2017 IAJGS Award for Volunteer of the Year
Help us index more records at
Keep up to date on archives, databases and genealogy in general and Jewish and Israeli roots in particular with


Rose Feldman
Israel Genealogy Research Association
Winner of 2017 IAJGS Award for Volunteer of the Year

"adoption" to avoid the czar's army #general #lithuania

Carola Murray-Seegert

Yes, I have an example of adoption to avoid the Tsar’s army, which I've told in a family story on the Byerazino/Pahost KehilaLink. The details are reported here:
The original family name was Feldb’in, but the eldest son, Herschel, used the surname Rabinowitz, as did his descendants. I first thought this stuff about avoiding the draft was just a ‘fairy tale’ but in fact it truly happened. Herschel’s brother-in-law Louis Katz, who was well connected, arranged for his adoption by a man named Rabinowitz who had female children but no sons.
I verified the original family name thanks to a hand-written history, left by a member of the immigrant generation. If I had not traced all possible living descendants of the original family, and had I not been fortunate enough to meet the daughter of the early ‘family historian' I would never have known the family’s true surname, since Herschel continued to use Rabinowitz, even after immigrating to the US.
So regarding your question about how to proceed, based on my experience, I suggest you start by finding all living descendants and asking for family memories.
I can also strongly recommend taking one or more of JewishGen’s guided, online research classes. I received invaluable personal assistance I from Nancy Holden and Phyllis Kramer (Z”L) - without them, I’d have gotten nowhere!
Once I discovered the original surname, revision lists (original Russian census records) available through the Belarus SIG and the Igumen District Research project allowed me to trace the Feldb'ins and their ancestors back to the late 1700s. Unfortunately, I still have one more brick wall to overcome: no matter how hard I’ve looked, I have never been able to identify the Rabinowitz family that saved Herschel from the horrors of the anti-semitic military.

Carola Murray-Seegert, Ph. D.
Oberursel Germany

Coordinator, Igumen District Research Group

Manager, Byerazino/Pahost KehilaLInk

Manager, Moskva KehilaLink

Researching: FELDB’IN, FELDBAUM, KATZ, RABINOWITZ in Pahost and Byerazino: LIFSHITZ, SHEFTEL in Shklov and Moskva; COIN, FELSER, SCOLL in Tauroggen, Baltimore, Chicago and San Antonio.

Re: "adoption" to avoid the czar's army #general #lithuania

Judy Madnick

We were told that my husband's surname "Madnick" was not the original family name, that when the Russians recruited boys to their army by force, if you were an only son, you could avoid the military. We've been told that the original name was "Gegozinski," so a direct ancestor of my husband and his brothers (unknown to us) each chose a different family name. Ours chose Madnick." Now I'm wondering whether they were "adopted," as described above or whether the "only son" story is accurate.

ViewMate translation request - Polish (may be Russian) #translation #poland #russia

Alice Klein

I'd like to request a translation of the Polish/Russian text of a birth record from Warsaw in ~1913. It is on ViewMate at the following address

Please respond using the online ViewMate form.

Thank you so much,

Alice Klein

Was a gradfather an acceptable witness for the birth of a grandson in Galitzia in 1875? #austria-czech

Alberto Guido Chester

Dear Genners
I have found a close relative living in the same house, with the same surname who appears as witness in the birth act of a boy (by the way my grandfather)
I think he was his grandfather, however I cannot yet prove the relation.
Was such a  close relative accepted by the Austrian authorities as a witness of the birth?
Or maybe this was not a limitation?
Thanks for your comments.
PS: If you consider your comments to be of relevance to me only, please email me but not the list.
Alberto Guido Chester
Buenos Aires, Argentina

"adoption" to avoid the czar's army #general #lithuania

Ettie Zilber

DOES THIS STORY SOUND FAMILIAR? a branch of my family had 5 sons around the mid-late 1800s. In order to avoid the military, 4 of the sons were "adopted" by families which had no sons. Thus, this branch had 5 different family names. They lived in Kalvarija and environs. Does anyone have information about this practice? How do the genealogy experts advise doing research for this brick wall?

Robinn Magid appointed Assistant Director of JRI-Poland #announcements

jeremy frankel

On behalf of the Board of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, I would like to heartily endorse the election of our long-time society member, Robinn Magid, to the position of Assistant Director of JRI-Poland as well a member of the JRI-Poland executive committee.

It has been my privilege and pleasure and that of the board to have known Robinn for many years, both professionally and personally. Her many years of experience and various skills will be put to good use with JRI-Poland’s board and executive committee.


Jeremy Frankel

San Francisco Bay Area
Jewish Genealogical Society

Launch of Online Resource of Jewish Cemeteries in Turkey With Over 61,000 Gravestones #sephardic #announcements

Jan Meisels Allen




A digitized database of Turkish cemeteries has been launched online and made available to the public by the Goldstein Goren Diaspora Research Center at Tel Aviv University.  It is called A World Beyond: Jewish Cemeteries in Turkey 1583-1990.  The database is the culmination of decades of research by Prof. Minna Rozen and comprises digital images and detailed textual content of more than 61,000 Jewish gravestones from a variety of communities in Turkey from 1583 until 1990. While the material was digitized I the 1990s now is the first time its publicly accessible.


The database provides access to detailed information on Jewish cemeteries in a score of towns and cities around Turkey, from big city cemeteries with thousands of graves, to out of the way graveyards with only a few dozen: (each is a  hypertext link)

Adana,  Antakya,  Bodrum,  Bursa,  Çanakkale,  Çorlu,  Edirne,  Gaziantep,  Gelibolu,  İskenderun,  Istanbul,  Izmir,  Kirklareli,  Konya,  Manisa,  Mersin,  Milas,  Tekirdağ,  Tire,  Turgutlu


Using the complex search functions, you can seek out individual gravestones or search the cemeteries by a range of criteria, including date, type of tomb (e.g. slab, upright, coffin-like), name and/or sex of the deceased, type of ornamentation of the gravestone, and more.

To read more about the project, Turkish Jewry , Cemeteries, how to navigate the project an d search the database go to:


Note: the database is considered a “beta” version and the project team recognizes that there are still some kinks to be worked out. They ask that users point out glitches and suggest improvements by contacting them at diaspora@...


To read more see:


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


Smorgon vital records #lithuania

L Levy

My family, the Meirovitz/Meerovitz/Meirivitch family was from Smorgon, and I have records from Vilna and Kovno confirming the connection.  However, I've contributed/joined the Oshmiany group and searched through all the records for Smorgon and nearby shtetl records to no avail.
I'm would guess that there are other Smorgon decendants here, are there records missing?  For example, is there a later revision list? If so, is there another method of tracing family in the area?  I believe my family relocated after the 1915 pogrom, some went east to Minsk, several went to Vilna, and a few to Kovno.  However, it would seem that the family would be listed on the 1850 revision list, but unfortunately they are not.

Institutionalized relative - death date and burial location #general

L Levy

Hi! I have a great aunt who was institutionalized by her family, I don't know the reason, but I do have reason to believe she died at Pilgrim State Hospital in New York.  I've contacted Pilgrim, and although this woman has certainly been deceased for 50 years they will not release any information, including where residents were buried.  I've also searched NY death certificates.  I believe she passed in the 1960's.
There's no death certificate that I've been able to find either. 
Her name was Ida Levy, she was born in Harrisburg, PA in 1909, daughter of Rosa and Louis Levi (changed to Lewis Levy later) but lived in the Bronx, NY until she was institutionalized at Pilgrim, which is located in Brentwood, NY.  I have contacted the Jewish cemetery of Central Islip, but have not heard back yet.
Has anyone had experience with researching a family member in similar circumstances and do you have any advice? 

Request for SIG/RD/BOF/RG groups 2020 IAJGS Virtual Conference Participation #announcements #jgs-iajgs

Nolan Altman

Dear SIG, RD, BOF, RG leader,

As you are probably aware by now, this year’s IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be a “Virtual Conference”.  The good news is that the conference Chairs have worked out a mechanism for SIG/RD/BOF/RG groups to meet in virtual meeting rooms during the conference period.  Many of you already submitted applications but some of you notified us that you could not hold a session because you would not be able to travel to San Diego.  Since physical attendance is no longer an issue, we are doing a re-set and providing all groups the opportunity to apply for a meeting session.  Please read the rest of this letter carefully and submit the accompanying application form by July 15th.

The Virtual Conference will take place between Monday, August 10th and Thursday, August 13th between 10:00 AM and 7:30 PM, Eastern Daylight Time. In addition to SIG/RD/BOF/RG meetings, there will be live and pre-recorded sessions. Additional good news for your group is that we would like to offer the SIG/RD/BOF/RG meetings at no charge to attendees, so you could invite existing members and potential members who may not be interested in attending the full conference, but would like to meet with your group.

Attendees for any part of the conference, including the SIG/RD/BOF/RG meetings, must register for the conference.  Registration for the full conference, which will include a variety of live and recorded sessions is $325. (By the way, the $250 early bird rate expires on Sunday, July 5th in case you have not registered and want to.)

By submitting your new request, you are agreeing to the following conditions:

  1. Your meeting cuts off abruptly at one hour, so watching the clock is necessary.
  2. Your meeting will be designed as a simple networking session, not a webinar. However, PowerPoint, screensharing and chat functions are available like in a webinar. You may discuss projects that your group has accomplished or is pursuing, but you agree not to invite a special speaker or present a formal webinar that more properly belongs within the conference to paying attendees.
  3. You will submit the names and contact information for two Moderators who will be responsible for running the technical part of your session with your reply to this letter. If your group is larger than a handful of people, it is in your interest that these people should be different than the person or people who are leading the meeting. We will have a professional technician available to you in the background, but you will need to supply one or two moderators. (It is intended that the moderators will deal with screensharing, taking questions, cueing speakers, etc.  That is why it might be best for the moderator to be someone other than a speaker or leader.)
  4. You will respond to this request ASAP and before July 15th, so the conference organizers have time to schedule the sessions and reach out to your appointed moderators for any necessary training.

Applications MUST be returned by July 15th, 2020 at the to SIGandBOF@...g  (Earlier replies are very much appreciated.)  If we do not get a response by July 15th, your group will not be scheduled.

Feel free to contact me at the same email address with any questions. 


Nolan Altman


Re: Adoptions in the US around the 1930s #general #dna

Nicole Heymans

When searching for adoptees' potential biological relatives, DNAGedCom is an absolute must.
Unlike GedMatch which requires downloading raw data by contributors, this site collects matches (rather than raw data) directly from FTDNA, 23andMe etc. and numbercrunches it. This means it includes data from samples from all those disappointed by their DNA findings, or deceased, who are unresponsive.

Keep safe;

Nicole Heymans, near Brussels, Belgium

Re: Adoptions in the US around the 1930s #general #dna

Deanna Levinsky <DEANNASMAC@...>

 I agree. There was a stigma associated with adoption. We’ve come a long way Thank G-d
Deanna M. Levinsky, Long Island, NY

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